Call it a nice homecoming. Germany’s Ricarda Funk has sizzled down her home course in Augsburg to claim gold in the women’s K1 final at the second ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup on Sunday.
And Olympic silver medalist Matej Benus of Slovakia picked up the gold medal in the men’s C1, consigning German home-town favourites Sideris Tasiadis and Franz Anton to the silver and bronze.
Even with a two-second penalty for a gate touch Funk was too quick for the rest of the field. Her time of 107.67 left her 0.95 seconds ahead of Slovakia’s Jana Dukatova, with Slovenia’s Ursa Kragelj third on 109.23.
“I’m super happy, it was just awesome in front of all my friends and family,” Funk said.
“After the touch I was worried if it would be enough, but I just told myself to go straight and fight.”
“This result means so much for me, because last year I messed up the Olympic selections so I just want to show my experience.”
German hopes for a double celebration were quashed by lightning fast Slovak, Matej Benus, one of only two athletes to post a clean run on his way to the gold medal.
He finished on 104.90, with Prague gold medalist Sideris Tasiadis on 106.29 second, and fellow German Franz Anton third in 106.84.
“I think it’s my third consecutive medal in Augsburg, so I like this course,” Benus said.
“I didn’t take too many risks. I think I had a little bit of a slower start, because I had some little mistakes, but the rest was pretty good.
“It was pretty difficult for me to get back into paddling after the Olympics, because I had so much media work, and I didn’t have time to train a lot after the last World Cups. But I think in the winter, and the spring in Australia, it was pretty good for me.”
Benus was the only medalist from Rio to feature in Sunday’s finals action. Olympic gold medalist, Denis Gargaud Chanut, finished 13th, and bronze medalist Takuya Haneda of Japan was 18th.
In the women’s K1, Spain’s Rio gold medallist, Maialen Chourraut, finished 13th, silver medallist Luuka Jones of New Zealand was 12th, and bronze medalist Jessica Fox from Australia was 11th.
ICF World Cup 3 begins in Markleeberg on Friday.